Reviews roundup – The New Black vs. Sfyrokalymnon vs. Dragony vs. Star Crystal vs Bruce Stringer

818snizx0el-_sl1500_THE NEW BLACK
A Monster’s Life
AFM

Off to Germany for some Mortorhead meets Volbeat meets metal, on the best album The New Black have done to date.

They’ve come close in the past, but this is where it has all come together for vocalist Fludid, guitarists Christof Leim and Fabian Schwarz, drummer Chris Weiss and bass player Günt Auschrat.  The songs and production have melded together in fine fashion to produce a pounding album with some killer songs.

For sure, they can’t quite shake off naming songs ‘A Pill Named Ting’ and ‘The Beer Of No Return’, but they are German, no?  And the Germans have such a fine sense of humour.  But no humour is required when they rock out on ‘Long Time Coming’, ‘Dead In The Water’ and ‘Blockbuster’, because they’re just damn fine songs.

If you’ve just went meh in the past, give this a go.  It could change your mind.

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611euh9aohl-_ss280SFYROKALYMNON
The Sign Of Concrete Creation
Metal Breed

Now that’s a name that’s going to catch on.  Yes. you read that right.  Sfyrokalymnon.  To be fair, they are Greek, and there is a Greek island called Kalymnos in the Aegean Sea, so it probably makes more sense over there.

But what we have is a heavy metal album.  Hurrah!  It’s a wee bit trad metal, and a wee bit power metal, so that will do nicely.  They’ve had a couple of demos out, but this is their first album proper, and it is promising, even if it’s not quite the finished article.  They’ve got the riffs, and a couple of the songs are definitely worth hearing; namely ‘The Metal Emperor’ and ‘Son of Sin’, with the latter almost treading into symphonic metal territory.

With a wee bit more time in the studio, they could turn into something useful, but it’s worth a stream for the time being.

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81h6puilnpl-_sl1280_DRAGONY
Shadowplay
Limb Music

That’s a proper heavy metal album sleeve, that is.  Very Frank Frazetta.  And what with it turning into a metal thrashing mad day round these parts, what better than some Austrian power metal, courtesy of Dragony.

And it’s a good one.  With added Savatage and the Hoff!  Oh, yes.  It’s album number two from the band, and although I have absolutely no memory of the first, I won’t forget this one in a hurry.  It’s one that fans of Rhapsody Of Fire will enjoy, as will fans of the aforementioned Savatage.

It’s chock full of great riffs, it’s got a fantastic production, some awesome songs like ‘Wolves of the North’ and ‘Babylon’, a guest appearance from Zak Stevens on ‘The Silent Sun’ and ends with a bonus track cover of “True Survivor”, a David Hasselhoff song from “Kung Fury”.  What more could you possibly need?

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51ooet3mdcl-_ss280STAR CRYSTAL
Follow Me
independent

I was sitting there the other night, thinking that what I really needed was some throwback eighties glam metal, preferably from a former Soviet Republic.  And what should pop up, but this offering from the Ukraine.  Result!

Yes indeed, the eighties have arrived in the Ukraine with a vengeance, and Star Crystal are determined to make it big on the Sunset Strip.  Of course, it’s probably been yuppiefied into a bean cafe strip mall, but who cares when you can rawk to tunes like ‘Follow Me’, ‘Hey You’ and ‘USA’.

The band pull all the shapes you would expect from the genre, while vocalist Susanna Radimovskaya does her best Vixen audition.  One for those of you who remember spandex, but no better than to wear it.  Rawk!

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brucestringerBRUCE STRINGER
One
TAO Music

I need a rest after all that metal, so who better than experimental guitarist Bruce Stringer and his all instrumental waxings.

The Australian guitarist Bruce Stringer, also works with Elaine Wang Yi-Ling in the Chinese-Western duo called Space Of Snow, and there is a lot of non Western influences at play here.  When he does come back into familiar territory, then it’s the likes of Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre that come to mind.

But he is never that obvious as he takes you an always interesting journey through the likes of ‘Mathematics’ and ‘Hieronymus Bosch’.  Granted, a lot of it goes way over my poor white trash head, but if you’ve got the inclination to follow a different path, then try ‘Dreaming of Machines’ with Mr Stringer.

 

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